Do Not Give The Devil an Opportunity
It is no secret that the devil is on the prowl looking to devour those whom he can (1 Pet. 5:8). The sad reality is that even though God’s people know this, they don’t take it to heart and they don’t take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming the devil’s prey. The apostle Paul in writing to the Ephesians warned them of this very thing when he said: “…and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:27). Many Christians are of the mindset that they are strong enough to overcome certain temptations and consequently they put themselves in environments that breed the schemes of the devil.
I have heard of many “strong Christians” who have done this very thing and they have either fallen away from the Lord or experienced a world of hurt and pain. The bottom-line is that the devil knows our weakness and he knows how to get us to fall no matter how strong we think we are. True strength is not illustrated by placing ourselves in an environment to test ourselves to see whether or not we can resist when we are sure to be tempted to sin and commit evil against God and our neighbor. True strength is seen in entrusting ourselves to God by putting on His full armor (Eph. 6:10-18) and running away from the devil and situations that increases our will to give into lust.
If someone is an alcoholic but has overcome that sin because of God’s help and the help of His people, would it make much sense if that person frequented the environment where Satan devoured them? The one who has overcome their sin of alcohol consumption and addiction would most certainly be wise not only to avoid being around that environment but also to avoid going anywhere near the same route they would take to go to that place. The entire idea is to run away as far from Satan as possible and as far away from any situation that would tempt us to give into him.
The consumption and addiction of alcohol isn’t the only sin meaningful to this idea. Pornography, fornication, drug consumption, unwholesome speech, greed, lying, stealing etc. are among other popular weaknesses of many Christians and non-Christians in our society. When the bible says “do not give the devil an opportunity” it means that we should do everything in our power to flee from these immoral, ungodly situations that can and will plunge us into ruin. God promises that us that He will give us the way of escape but we can’t escape if we don’t try to (1 Cor. 10:13).
The bible tells us in Gen. 39 that Potiphar’s wife sought to seduce Joseph to commit adultery with her. Joseph would not do so because God was first in his life and he could not fathom to commit such evil against God in light of all that God had done for Him. When Joseph wouldn’t give in, Potiphar’s wife decided to take Joseph by force to lie with him but he ran away from her as fast as he could leaving his garment in her hand.
Although the text tells us that it was Potiphar’s wife that Joseph was running from, the truth is he was running from the devil. The devil was using Potiphar’s wife to get Joseph to fall and he would not let up. Joseph figured out that the only way he was going to win was to trust God first and remove himself as far away from her as he could and he did. The only power Satan has is the power we give to him. When we give him opportunities to subdue and devour us that’s on us and no one else. We would all do well to heed God’s word by refusing to give the devil an opportunity. May we entrust ourselves to the faithful One and flee from sin and evil.